Pope: With His Ascension Jesus leads our way to Heaven

Addressing the crowds gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the Regina Caeli prayer on Ascension Sunday, Pope Francis recalls how Jesus' return to the Father opens the way to Heaven for us.

By Lisa Zengarini

At the Regina Caeli prayer from the Apostolic Library this Sunday, marking the Ascension of the Lord in Italy and many other countries around the world, Pope Francis reflected on the meaning for us of Jesus rising into Heaven and sitting at the right hand of God (Mk 16:19).

The Pope explained that Christ’s ascension opens the way for us.  “Jesus' return to the Father appears to us not as a separation, but rather as an anticipation of our final destination,” he said.   As a “climbing partner” when we climb towards the summit of a mountain, He drags the Church, His body, to Heaven where he has ascended.

We too rise joyfully together with Him

“We too, His limbs,” the Pope continued, “rise joyfully together with Him, our head, knowing that the step of one is a step for all and that no one must get lost or be left behind because we are one body.”

“We too rise joyfully with Him.”

“Step by step, Jesus shows us the way,” the Pope explained, recalling that today’s Gospel  tells us  the steps we have to undertake which consist of carrying out God's works of love:  “giving life, bringing hope, keeping away from all malice and meanness, responding to evil with good, becoming close to those who suffer.”

Following Jesus step by step

“The more we do this,” Pope Francis said, “the more we let ourselves be transformed by His Spirit, the more we follow His example, as in the mountains, we feel the air around us become light and clean”.

Pope Francis therefore invited the faithful to ask themselves if they are following His steps: “Is the desire for God alive in me, for his infinite love, for his life which is eternal life? Or am I flattened and tied to transient things things, to money, to success, to pleasures? And does my desire for Heaven isolate me or does it lead me to love my brothers  to feel them as companions in the journey towards Paradise?”

Concluding, the Pope asked the Virgin Mary to help us “to walk together with joy towards the glory of Heaven.”

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12 May 2024, 12:07